Benefits of putting a Human Face on your Content

July 21, 2022

In an increasingly digital world, one simple look can instantly build trust in your product

Your customers constantly scan faces to decide how they should be feeling, whether they realize it or not. There is a reason why the internet runs on memes, why super bowl ads run on celebrities, and why Oxolo’s revolutionary AI runs on human emotion. 

Every choice we make, whether we’re just choosing a particular brand of soda or deciding which social causes justify our support, is subject to subconscious influence, and there is simply no faster way to inject positivity into your messaging than the right human face.

While winning the buy box isn’t quite as simple as slapping a face onto your campaign, putting the proper emotions on your product can have potential buyers feeling comfortable and confident enough to click the buy button, before they even know what exactly you’re selling.

Infants begin scanning the room for faces within an hour of being born. We may listen to Einstein in the womb, but as soon as we take our first breaths, we stare at faces longer than anything else. 

Babies' first looks show us that responding to facial stimuli is a basic human instinct. This phenomenon continues through our whole lives, where it takes us less than 100 milliseconds of scanning an image to stop and rest on a human face. Body language and facial expression have been a facet of communication long before language, and the human face remains an essential pillar of building trust in your product. 

 Even in instances where the subject is supposed to be targeting inanimate objects, they couldn’t help but look towards faces. Scientists have looked at the overwhelming evidence towards the instant attention grabbing effects of facial symmetry and declared the human face the most biologically significant stimulus out there. 

Faces are Everywhere You Look 

From the man on the moon to a face in the clouds, nothing catches our eyes quite like an angular visage. Humans just can’t help searching for a face to set the mood. 

Do you always feel like somebody’s watching you? That may be a sign of a slightly larger problem, but if you feel like you can’t help but see faces everywhere you go, you’re not alone. 

It's called Pareidolia, and it's a by-product of our evolution. Everyone is hardwired to scan for two eyes, a nose and a mouth before we even know what we’re looking at - a smiling slice of bacon and two eggs positioned just right can even transfer positive emotion

This quick feeling of trust, or nerves, expands to our imaginations as well. There is not one speck of evidence that would assume aliens take a remotely similar form to our own, yet Hollywood is full of extraterrestrials with faces similar enough to our own to get a message across. Movies and TV shows don’t have time to spell everything out, so they rely on human faces to quickly define intentions. 

Subconsciously defining good and evil may be as simple as pronounced cheekbones, and directors, and costume design teams have it down to a science. Faces have been constructed to subliminally declare their role as soon as we meet a new character.

Star Wars is a fitting example of this. Every evil character across every film has extremely dark facial features, save two - Emperor Palpatine and Count Dooku. Those two just happen to be the only two evil characters who are currently or used to be a part of the jedi order. Without sound, you could likely figure out where everyone stands in the battle for good vs. evil in a quick line-up.   

Shaping a made up species with just enough facial symmetry brings a relatable character out of this world and helps viewers understand farfetched creatures before a character opens their mouth. Filmmakers are sending a message through facial expression, and the advertising world works the same way. 

The Emotional Response Created By Your Core Face Network

Scientists have narrowed down certain regions of your cerebrum whose sole function is to react to other humans. The parts of your brain that light up through fMRI scans when you see a face are known as the Fusiform Face Area. 

This facial recognition zone allows us to actively track the increased brain activity the sight of another face brings. It features some of the same aspects of mental recognition for our areas of expertise, like when a chess master sees a certain opening.

The Fusiform face area shows what researchers have hypothesized for a long time; our brains react differently to seeing faces than inanimate objects. The key change to take note of in your advertising is known as holistic processing. 

Holistic Processing is a term used to define our innate strategy to piece together fragmented information. Our brains use this technique to scan strangers, media, and advertisements to feel a certain way right off the bat. 

When exposed to another face, our fusiform face area instantly fills in the blanks and assumes an emotional response. When looking at an unfamiliar inanimate object, this brain system stays dark, making it harder to pique your interest.

 Your Core Face Network plays a key role in determining if you trust a product before it’s even introduced to you. 

How Facial Expressions Works Wonders on your advertisements 

Humans live on snap judgements. Having the right face introducing your product gets a potential customer on your side before the pitch even begins. There are three steps each brain goes through when viewing a human face. 

Face Detection: Your brain lights up when exposed to anything remotely close to two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. 

Holistic Processing: A quick scan of the face in front of us is understood as a whole. Instead of analyzing each aspect individually, when exposed to a face we look at an image as a whole and fill in the blanks emotionally. 

Facial Discrimination: Based on the results of our scan and our brains reading between the lines, we instantly lean towards trust or tension - before anyone even opens their mouth. 

All this happens quicker than the blink of an eye. 

Your target audience will start to decide if your message is trustworthy within milliseconds. Consumers rely on emotions more than information to make choices, and ‘likeability’ is the most predictive measure of whether or not an advertisement will be successful. 

With billions of unique faces in the world, there is no one specific facial structure that will elicit the same emotional response from every consumer. The face of a leather jacket campaign will be very different from the human at the head of a Peta ad. 

Adding the right look to even the simplest informative videos or introductory content will have a subconscious effect on viewers and give potential customers a slight nudge in the right direction. 

Our subconscious social behavior is more contagious than we realize, just try to watch this video without yawning. A trustworthy face expressing emotions beneficial to your brand can have the same effect.

People don’t connect with logos, they connect with people

Your product needs more than just words and a graphic design department to break the ice: we take in visual and tonal cues when processing pitches and find it way easier to say no to text than to a smile. The effect can be traced back to our subconscious. 

We’ve known for a while that we have an easier time recognizing faces than names. That’s why companies, governments and philanthropists alike frequently attempt to anthropomorphize their causes to get us on their side. Geico’s famous Gecko doesn’t feature a British accent just to be cute and memorable.  it’s to create specific emotional branding that sets a subconscious tone to a company's identity.  

A recent study of 740 Youtube videos show a staggering 72% of them feature a face on the thumbnail. Media analysts have gone as far as to call it ‘youtube face,’ and it’s in response to overwhelming evidence that browsers are more likely to click on a thumbnail with a human being on it. 

We’re hardwired to listen closely when a human is speaking, and that phenomenon has translated into digital advertising.  

So why doesn’t every video have a face on it?

It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s incredibly difficult to organize a shoot that properly captures the right emotions. Just one wrong look or an unconfident stumble can leave a viewer feeling uneasy. 

No one besides professional actors truly enjoys getting in front of the camera because it’s not easy to strike exactly the right keys. Most Amazon businesses simply don’t have the budget to rent out a day or two in the studio and risk leaving the shoot with a reel full of unconfident footage. 

This Peloton ad is a great example of a human face bringing down a message. Peloton tried to create a social media style ad for TV by following a young women’s selfie journey, but the result was infamy. 

An actual screenshot from the middle of the ad as the actress begin her first workouts.

Viewers felt the woman was scared, found it callous of her partner to buy her exercise equipment for christmas, and ripped the company apart for choosing an already skinny face for a weight loss product. 

Peloton hoped to bring their product home by placing a  relatable face on their bike.  Instead, they created a dystopian look at an unhealthy relationship that had people selling shares. One wrong look, like the one to the right, sends shivers down viewers spines and makes the entire campaign feel forced. 

Until recently, the only way to get a face on your product was an expensive and exhausting process that involved booking studio time, hiring actors, finding directors, editors, and sound crews, and afterall that, fine-tuning your messaging so all that work wouldn’t go to waste.

Oxolo is here to change all that. We’ll have you wielding the full power of human emotion and AI efficiency by the end of the day. With just your Amazon URL, we’ll have a polished edition of your next advertising campaign in your inbox in no time. We’re on a mission to give every online business the right salesperson. Create a completely free video today and see for yourself what a splash of human emotion can bring to your product.